Artex is the common trade name for a stipple finish surface. Right up until the early 1990’s it was common for artex (as well as many other building materials to contain asbestos).
Generally, artex has been free of asbestos for around 20 years now so if you’ve got a newish home then you’re in the clear. However, if you’re uncertain it’s best to get it checked out by specialist asbestos removal contractors.
Below you will find that the general consensus is that if you aren’t sure whether your house contains asbestos in the Artex then get it professionally tested or don’t disturb it al all. You are fine to paint or replaster over the top and this is usually adequate for most renovation jobs. The artex can’t harm you if it remains intact.
General Overview of Artex Containing Asbestos
- Era – Up until 1984 but non-asbestos paints were available from 1970s onwards.
- Where Found – Walls and Ceilings
- Type of Asbestos – Chrysotile
- Use – Decorative Paint
- Asbestos Content – Typically 3 to 5%
- Risk of Exposure – Low
Source: Asbestos Registers
How to Remove a Ceiling that Contains Artex Asbestos?
If possible, you should paint, cover or plaster over the decorative coating rather than remove it. There are products on the market for covering textured surfaces. Alternatively, if the coating is applied to a plasterboard surface, the whole board may be removed in pieces large enough for convenient handling and disposal. If you do wish to remove the surface finish only, reduce as much as possible the chance of you generating and inhaling any dust by soaking the surface with warm water and scraping off wet. Do not sand the decorative coating or scrape off dry. For best protection while doing any minor DIY work you should wear a disposable dust mask, ‘CE’ marked to EN 149 with FFP2 particulate filters. – Thurrock Council
There are options available to remove Artex and other decorative finishes that contain Asbestos by applying a coating which causes to Artex to be safely scraped away without causing any dust. Here is a video of one of the most popular products (X Tex).
How to Know if You Have Asbestos in Your Artex
An expert in asbestos and construction assessment has highlighted (Yahoo Answers) the importance of getting your home professional tested before starting any works that will disturb the Artex:
All ‘Artex’ has been free of asbestos for around 20-30 years now, so if it is new-ish then it will be clear. If you don’t know how old it is, then you can get it tested. So use your judgement, if your house was built in 1990, then it will be clear!
Take caution if you suspect it has been there a long time. Asbestos generally kills around 25-40 years after exposure, and it is the small dust particles that go deepest into the lung, that can cause a mesothelioma cancer, or lung function problems. There are different colours of asbestos, under a microscope the particles are either brown white or blue, all are fatal, all must be treated respectfully. Exposure will not harm you next week! But it is something you must bare in mind.
Ceilings are one of the most common places for Artex to contain asbestos in old houses.
Old decorative ceiling coatings like ‘Artex’ often had small amounts of asbestos added to the material to improve strength. Generally if ceilings are in good condition, they can be left alone and ‘managed in situ’ by annual inspection and maintaining a good paint covering. – Asbestos Surveying Limited